Wednesday, May 30, 2007

This Brother is funny and insightful

Interview With the Devil #7: Many Counselors

I wish you would subscribe to this brother's blog like I have (I guess thats an issue I have, I think I my thoughts and actions often merit imitation). This brother pastor draws these sometimes irreverant, often funny, always original and provocative cartoons about the Christian life. His prose posts are usually thoughtful too, although it is obvious that he serves a less traditional congregation than myself and has some rather cavalier ideas about church. Primarily, I just like to be engaged and keep my conversation with the Lord open, honest, and inquisitive and every little bit helps. You got to keep it moving, thats what I believe, from "In the beginning, God made..." to "...Even so, come, Lord Jesus" God is at work and moving in the world he created, and have got to keep moving to keep up with Him.

Now what did I mean by subscribe, when I said 'subscribe to his blog' above? I was talking about web syndication or rss feed reading. Here is what wikipedia has to say about web syndication

A web feed is the most usual kind of web syndication. For the basics of what web feeds are, benefits and how to use them, read the web feed definition; otherwise see below for more details about web syndication.
A typical web feed logo
A typical web feed logo

Web syndication is a form of syndication in which a section of a website is made available for other sites to use. This could be simply by licensing the content so that other people can use it; however, in general, web syndication refers to making web feeds available from a site in order to provide other people with a summary of the website's recently added content (for example, the latest news or forum posts).

Large scale web syndication of content started in 2001 when Miniclip freely syndicated online browser based interactive games to the masses. Today many different types of content are syndicated on the Internet. Millions of online publishers including newspapers, commercial web sites and blogs now publish their latest news headlines, product offers or blog postings in standard format news feed.

Syndication benefits both the websites providing information and the websites displaying it. For the receiving site, content syndication is an effective way of adding greater depth and immediacy of information to its pages, making it more attractive to users. For the transmitting site, syndication drives exposure across numerous online platforms. This generates new traffic for the transmitting site — making syndication a free and easy form of advertisement.

The prevalence of web syndication is also of note to online marketers, since web surfers are becoming increasingly wary of providing personal information for marketing materials (such as signing up for a newsletter) and expect the ability to subscribe to a feed instead.

Although the format could be anything transported over HTTP, such as HTML or JavaScript, it is more commonly XML. The two main families of web syndication formats are RSS and Atom.

If you are adventurous and so inclined you can find out more about web feeds and download one here. By the way, I use my microsoft outlook email program to organize the feeds I subscribe to. On my treo 650 mobile phone I use freenews.

Hast thou not heard?

Isaiah 40:28 Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? there is no searching of his understanding.
Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard about GodTube? Sounds sort of farfetched, right? Sounds like a play on the name of the popular video-sharing website Youtube, right? Well, you are exactly right. The basic premise of GodTube is a YouTube for christians. Kinda of a novel idea I thought, but evidently not everybody thinks so. This blogger apparently has some issues with GodTube. Some of his points are well-taken and duly noted, but like he suggests you need to first check out GodTube for yourself before even reading his opinion. Personally, I haven't looked at even one video, but I already know I am going to be going there just as much or more than Youtube. Not that I visit Youtube all that much anyway, I really got interested in Youube when I discovered some vintage video footage of the late Rev. C.L. Franklin and from there I found a lot of videos of preaching and teaching on the site. I would imagine that there will even be more of these type of videos on GodTube once the word gets out. And that why I am talking about it now, to do my part in evangelizing for the Lord by letting everybody know about this website. I am confident GodTube will be a great depository of entertaining and informative videos documenting the depth and breadth of Christian life. I know I am not going to like, be interested in, or even theologically agree with every video, in fact I am sure some videos will offend my Christian sensibilities, but at least I will not be tempted and assailed by the filth, vulgarity, and inanity of much that passes as entertainment on Youtube. In a word, I will feel safer on GodTube. See you there. PTL.

[Posted with hblogger 2.0]

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

You've Got Mail!

This is a DBCS (Deliver Bar Code Sorter) machine processing your mail. When it is done your mail will be in walk sequence for your mailman. Amazing. Imagine 100s of millions of pieces of mail processed everyday and delivered to businesses, moms, dads, grandchildren, pen pals, troops in Irag and Afghanistan, neighbors, government officials, inmates, and lovers. It's mindboggling, but you really have to work in the U.S. Postal service world to appreciate it fully.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Testing 1

Posting from the picturemail program in my phone works, but obviously not optimally. This was a test to see if I am really moblogging. I am at the coffeehouse surfing the net on some free wifi type stuff checking out information about how to create a podcast. Look out people I am going to be syndicated with some interesting material: sermons, interviews, recordings of bible study. It is most assuredly on.

Foraging into the unknown territory of moblogging

I am driving down I-95 North making my first attempt at moblogging, mobile blogging that is, which is to say blogging from my cellphone. I hope that this will help to increase my volume and frequency of posts. I am so on the go, I really seldom have time to sit down at the computer and type out my thoughts all the way to completion. For example, I have like four ideas I want to post as blogs in various stages of production. I will get to them eventually, in the meantime, moblogging will allow me to deal with the more day-to-day and immediate.
There are a few different solutions for posting to your blog from your mobile phone, for anybody interested in trying this out here's a link to a website with an article that will tell you more about moblogging:

Weblogs get upwardly mobile

Here's some links to websites with blogging software for your mobile phone:

Yeah. I am so excited. Check you later.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Tweet, tweet

Barack Obama is twittering. That means one will be able to pretty much track his movements and thoughts throughout his presidential campaign. Not that this will definitely make him somehow more transparent as a candidate,he can still stay very guarded and politically correct. But I think its cool that I will be able to find out for example that he is in Cleveland one night speaking at the National Press Club and that the baked chicken was dry and he felt he didn't speak especially well. All in real time I might add and all this being his personal reflections and not some pundit or journalists analysis or secondhand report. I believe however naively some honest moments might be captured here and there.

For those that don't know twitter is this cool social networking/mini-blog/chat web phenomenon. It is supposed to be the next thing, you know. I am pretty excited about. Check it out at Sign up and send me an invite(username: revmak) so we can tweet.

Check out this screencap of what folks' "tweets" look like:

Thursday, May 10, 2007

On Obama

My gut reaction is that America (or as the artist Ice Cube used to say Amerikkka) is not ready for a Black president. I have serious questions as to Obama's electability. Personally, I have leaned toward Governor Bill Richardson (FYI: A senator has not been elected President in like 40 years). But this is not intended really to be a blog entry on my presidential race views. Actually, I don't know enough about the individual candidates yet to form anything more than a first impressions opinions on the candidates.

So, I guess this is like my first impressions on Barack Obama. Let me say I love his theology. Apparently, his pastor is none other than the prophetic and dynamic Rev. Jeremiah Wright, Pastor of the Trinity United Church of Christ of Chicago, Ill. Dr. Wright is the protégé of the late Dr. Samuel Dewitt Proctor one the paragons of lack preaching. Below as well as to the right you can find a link to video on youtube that captures Dr. Wright perhaps at his most extreme. I know this clip and much of his thought is going to e taken out of context by the average American who cares not to deal with subtleties and shades of thought, but Dr. Wright is very provocative and worthy of thoughtful consideration by thoughtful people. Anyway, Barack can't be all bad in my book if he listens to Jeremiah Wright every Sunday when he is home from Washington. I wonder where he attends church when he is in the District?


The youtube link:


Link to Trinity United Church of Christ:

What is fellowship?

This is my first blog. I have been trying to encourage myself to do this for along time. I am especially excited about what can be done from the perspective of a blog, and I pray God helps me stick with this thing. Pray for us.

Last year I went to a Church Consultants Seminar that was awesome, it definitely opened my eyes to need for churches to be not only purposeful in all it's actions, but also thoughtful. Often times people are so busy in their "personal" and professional lives that they don't have time or energy to devote to the church, that is physical, emotional, or creative energy. I believe that is one of reasons why so many churches fall victim to unquestioningly following tradition and "doing it like we have always done it." God deserves better, His work deserves our best effort. You and your life are His best effort, we need to reciprocate the interest in His work that he evidences in the grace and mercy he extends to us in our lives.

So, from time to time I get a great newsletter from ChurchCentral, a church consultancy firm. And here is an article on fellowship that caught my attention:

Remove barriers to fellowship: Ways of welcoming that work

by Ken Walker 30 Apr 2007

Acts 2:42 describes the early church as being devoted to the apostles' teaching, to eating together, to prayer and to fellowship. The Message translates fellowship as "doing life together." While that means different things to different churches, a trio of church consultants Church Central spoke with sees many congregations faltering in fellowship.

What is fellowship?

Many churches equate fellowship with Sunday morning greetings over a cup of coffee. This is a limited view of what it means extending a welcoming hand to everyone, says Ken Johnson of The Ken Johnson Group.

"Fellowship is not just saying ‘hello’ and ‘good bye,’" says Johnson, who is based in suburban Denver, Colo. "It’s caring about (guests) and finding out who they are and what’s going on with them. It’s not just members but everyone."

Friendly with friends

Almost every church Johnson consults with tells him, "We are the friendliest church in town." The former evangelical pastor says what most church members fail to recognize is that being friendly with each other doesn’t meet the standard of Christ-like hospitality.

Some shortcomings he has observed: failing to greet newcomers dressed in a different style of clothing; not making sure visitors get a bulletin; and one church where—other than a brief, congregation-wide greeting during the service—nobody talked to him.

"This may sound silly, but all the way from the parking lot to the sanctuary you’re promoting fellowship," says Johnson, recalling the church where he received multiple greetings. As a result, he felt comfortable going to the fellowship hall afterward for a social event.

More than shaking hands

While initial contact with visitors is important, Debbie Rendell of St. Petersburg, Fla., says churches must go deeper.

The president of Integrating Focus says a congregation that wants to promote fellowship needs a leader who demonstrates an outgoing nature so that God’s love will touch everyone who enters.

She says such a stance should include a time and place where guests can meet the pastor afterwards, as well as multiple greeters throughout the building and a sensitivity towards newcomers.

"What if everything you did was focused on guests?" Rendell asks. "You have parking places for them, have someone to greet them, give them a bulletin and a map of the church…Invite them to sign up for a tour of the building, or assign a person to be with them for their entire visit. You want guests to realize you’re there if they need you."

If personal guides aren’t a realistic option, the Florida consultant says a welcome team can hand visitors a card with a cell phone number to call in case they need directions or other information.

Signs of unfriendliness

Rendell says some indications that a church isn’t that friendly include:

* No directional signs inside or outside the building.

This spring, when she visited a church with multiple services, her group had to ask four times to find the one they wanted to attend.

* No welcoming committee, greeters or visitor packets.

* Nothing for guests beyond a 30-second "meet and greet" time during the service.

* No one invites guests to dinner or their home. Or, at least an invitation to return next week.

* No recognition of guests.

Rendell says this doesn’t mean calling out individuals or asking them to stand, but a global welcome to any newcomers and a "thank you for coming."

* Small groups are closed, meaning no guests can connect with one, and the pastor isn’t willing to start one for visitors.

"You see so many things that are missing in how a church functions and how it looks from the outside," Rendell says.

Small groups essential

A veteran business consultant who added churches to his specialty two years ago says small groups are also essential to developing closer fellowship in a church.

"You have to do what Jesus did," says Alex Carroll, president of Carroll & Carroll Associates in Reston, Va. "He picked 12 and let those 12 minister to others."

While saying small groups have their limits, Caroll suggests they be based around some kind of common bond. He thinks the same ethic should be applied to different ministries within the church, with people who have similar gifts using them to help others.

Exercising these gifts naturally creates relationships between those involved in the ministry, as well as with those they assist, Caroll says.

Guard against cliques

While churches must take steps to promote stronger fellowship, Johnson warns they must also guard against small groups turning into cliques. "Before you realize it, it can happen," says Johnson, who as a pastor would sometimes move choir members or take other steps to prevent friendly relationships from turning into control groups.

However, the Colorado consultant warns to avoid getting too wrapped up in internal events, no matter what the issue. Churches who keep their eyes focused on themselves forget to extend a welcoming hand to others, Johnson says.

"Find ways to contact and connect with them," Johnson says. "There are words and ways to bring people into fellowship. Friendliness means you talk to anybody who walks through the door."

Well this has been real for me. My ultimate mission is to be able include a subscription podcast to this or another site.